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Are You Familiar With the PGAs Involved with Import/Export Services?

Learn More About Partner Government Agencies and Alphabet Agencies

PGA s involved with import/export
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If you are regularly importing goods into the United States, you might be familiar with the CBP – officially known as the US Customs and Border Protection agency. They are a United States Government law enforcement agency, whose main goal is to protect and maintain the integrity of our national borders.

When it comes to shipping merchandise in and out of the country, CBP has a number of rules and regulations that must be followed in order to avoid penalties such as fines or prosecution.
Naturally, due to the vast diversity of goods entering the country they have to work in conjunction with other government agencies to carefully establish and monitor the specific rules pertaining to things like perishable items, dangerous materials, and other consumer goods such as clothing and apparel.

These organizations are also known as Partner Government Agencies, or PGAs. Some of these are part of the Alphabet Agencies set up by president Roosevelt’s administration, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These different PGAs make up what is known as the Border Interagency Executive Council (BIEC).

Familiarize Yourself With Some of the PGAs

If you do any sort of freight forwarding, import/export, or international logistics, it is likely that you will come across a number of these agencies throughout your career. Each agency has its own import/export guide to help you stay on top of the various regulations to be followed.

US Department Agencies

These are the primary government agencies that you will come across whenever importing or exporting merchandise, goods, and products in and out of the United States:

All of these various organizations have a hand in safe-guarding our borders and ensuring that nothing enters the country that hasn’t been properly vetted, registered, approved, documented, and packaged as per BIEC standards.

Improve Efficiency and Avoid Penalties

Feeling like you’re swimming in a giant bowl of alphabet soup? Keeping up with all these acronyms can be enough to make your head spin! Don’t worry, we are here to help. Promptus LLC has a number of qualified, Licensed Customs Brokers available to help with all your PGA, BIEC, and CBP needs! Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 to get a free quote for our services.

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Do You Know The Right Marine Freight Container For Your Shipping Needs?

Discover the Recommended Uses of Common Standardized Shipping Containers

right marine freight container

The trade industry is responsible for providing us with an incredibly valuable service: shipping and delivery. All over the world, import and export services allow for international trade and distribution of merchandise and goods ranging everywhere from high-end luxuries to everyday necessities.

But, how exactly can that be achieved with all the different customs and languages that may be encountered? How can a shipping company in the US be sure that their containers can be received at a port in China?

Standardized Shipping Sizes

In the 1960s, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was created with the sole purpose of creating consistent sizes that can be used internationally. They provide specifications for things such as intermodal shipping containers, which visit many different countries in their lifetime. Known as the Incoterms, it helps reduces confusion amongst importer/exporters, distributors, manufacturers, and transport companies. In the guide below, we will explore the various standardized shipping containers mostly commonly used in the international trade industry.

Please keep in mind that there is an incredibly wide variety of containers used in marine transportation and, while their specifications are virtually standardized worldwide, the possibility exists that individual container manufacturers and shipping lines may offer specifications that vary slightly from those we will be covering.

General Sizing Information

As specified by the ISO 668, the following image lists the standardized specifications for the various sizes of shipping containers that can be used by marine freight import/export companies. It works in conjunction with ISO 1496, which specifies the internal dimensions and door openings for General Purpose Containers.

The following list touches on the various types of freight containers that can be used for international marine trade and shipping. When planning your ocean shipping services, it is important to select the correct container for your needs. Need help? Promptus LLC can offer their expertise to help simplify international shipping.

General Purpose Container

The general purpose container is suitable for general cargo, as the name describes, and can be used to house a variety of goods. The container comes in two standardized sizes: 20’ and 40’. They are both 8’ 6” tall and can be defined by ISO size type 22G0 & 22G1 and 42G0 & 42G1, respectively. In addition, these containers offer the following features:

  • Can be lined with bag ideal for bulk cargo, such as malt. (20’ only)
  • Features forklift pockets on many available containers.
  • Multiple lashing devices with an allowable load of 2,205lbs (1,000 kg) on the top and the bottom rails (running lengthwise) as well as the corner posts.

High Cube General Purpose Container

Similar to the above general purpose container, this particular transport device is slightly taller at 9’ 6” and comes in two standardized sizes: 40’ and 45’. The ISO size types for these containers are 45G0 & 45G1 and L5G0 & L5G1, respectively. Additionally, these containers offer the following features:

  • Idea for light, capacious cargo
  • Ideal for over-height cargo reaching a maximum height of 8’ 10 ¼” (2.70m)
  • Multiple lashing devices with an allowable load of 2,205lbs (1,000 kg) on the top and the bottom rails (running lengthwise) as well as the corner posts.
  • Recommended for inland transportation.

Hardtop Container

As the name describes, this transport container has a reinforced top. It is available in two different lengths: 20’ and 40’. Both sizes are 8’ 6” tall. The 20’ and 40’ sizes are defined in the ISO size types 22U6 and 42U6, respectively. These containers have the following features and recommendations:

  • Ideal for heavy loads, especially cargo that is excessively high, and top loading cargo – accessible through the roof opening and door sides.
  • Steel roof with rings so they can be removed easily with a forklift.
  • In the event of over-height cargo, the roof sections offer the option to lash to the sidewall, taking up only 13cm of space.
  • Disposable tarpaulins can be fastened to the exterior walls using lashing devices.
  • Forklifts with a front axle not exceeding 16,000lbs (7,280 kg) can be used inside the container.
  • A variety of lashing devices can be used in conjunction with the hardtop container, such as on the corner posts and horizontal (lengthwise) roof and floor rails (holds up to 4,410 lbs or 2,000kg) or the middle of the side walls (holds up to 1,100 lbs or 500 kg).
  • The 40’ container is recommended for use of goods that do not comfortably fit in the 20’ container.

High Cube Hardtop Container

This is the High Cube version of the Hardtop Containers described above. Essentially, this container is recommended for taller loads that require a reinforced top. The high cube container is 9’ 6” tall and is available in a 40’ model.

This model is recommended for all the same uses as the above-referenced Hardtop Container, though it is used when the cargo is excessively high and will not comfortably fit in the 8-foot-tall model. In addition to those recommendations and features, this model also offers:

  • An expandable roof that can be raised up to 2¾” (70 mm) using roof-locking devices. This allows the door-header to be swung open without having to remove the roof.

Open Top Container

Again, as the name describes, this container opens from the top, allowing for easier loading and accommodating of certain cargos. The container is 8 ‘ 6” high and is available in two sizes: 20’ and 40’ long. The ISO size types for these containers can be found in 22U1 and 42UI, respectively. These containers are recommended for the following uses and offer the following features:

  • Ideal for cargo that is overheight, or cargo that needs to be loaded top side or door side, usually using a crane or forklift.
  • The door header can be swung open, allowing for easier loading and unloading.
  • Disposable tarpaulins can be fastening on the exterior walls using lashing bars. One-way tarpaulins will require access to the corner castings.
  • Forklift pockets on many available containers.
  • All open top containers allow capacity for forklift trucks, exceeding the ISO standard by 33%.
  • Lashing devices are located on the top and bottom rails (running lengthwise) as well as the corner posts. These devices hold up to 2,205 lbs (1,000 kg) each.

Flat

Unlike the others we have covered in this guide, this shipping device is the only “container” that is completely open. It is outfitted with a reinforced bottom and two fixed walls at either end. The flat rack is available in a 20’ option that reaches 8‘ 6” tall. The ISO size type for this rack is 22P3 and 22P8. In addition to its open-side design, this shipping container offers the following features and recommendations:

  • Ideal for exceptionally heavy and overwidth goods and cargo.
  • Many brands include forklift pockets for increased portability.
  • Durable lashing devices included on the corner posts, longitudinal rails, and on the floor of the flat. The rails that run lengthwise can withstand up to 4,410 lbs (2,000kg) or 8,820 lbs (4,000kg), respectively.
  • Must be used for payloads that can be distributed over the total floor area, as a heavy load concentrated in one particular area can cause an imbalance.
  • Flats are typically delivered without stanchions or support poles, but they can be requested with an authorized representative or distributor.

High Cube Flat

This is the high cube version of the flat rack described above. The high cube flat’s end walls reach 9’ 6” tall and it is currently available in a 40’ model.

This option is suitable for all the same needs as the above-referenced flat, though it is recommended for use when cargo is excessively high and needs to be stacked higher than allowed with the 8’ model. In addition to those recommendations and features, this model also offers:

  • A gooseneck tunnel on either end.

Platform

Similar to the flat rack, this shipping device features a reinforced bottom, however, this model has no surrounding side or end walls. Platform containers are best suited to transport awkward cargo that cannot be comfortably enclosed in other container devices like an open top or flat rack. The platform is available is a 20’ and 40’ model and the ISO size type can be found at 29P0 and 49P0, respectively. This shipping “container” offers the following features and recommendations:

  • Ideal for heavy loads and oversized cargoes.
  • 40-foot platforms have a gooseneck tunnel on either end.
  • Many brands offer reinforced lashing devices on the longitudinal rails, which can withstand weights up to 6,615 lbs (3,000 kg) each.
  • Heavy loads can be concentrated in smaller load transfer areas.

Ventilated Container

This is a specialty container, intended for a specific use: to house cargo that requires ventilation during transport. This container is 8’ 6” tall and is available in two standard sizes: 20’ and 40’. The ISO size type for these containers is outlined in 22V0 and 42V0, respectively. These shipping containers offer the following uses and features:

  • Natural ventilation by way of opening running lengthwise across the top and bottom rails. A labyrinth construction prevents damage against weather damage.
  • Lashing devices that can withstand up to 2,205lbs (1,000 kg) each throughout both the top and bottom longitudinal rails as well as the corner posts.

Insulated Container

This container is essentially the opposite of the above-mentioned shipping device and is intended for use with cargo that needs to maintain a constant temperature. The insulated shipping containers are 8’ 6” tall and can be found in two standard sizes: 20’ and 40’. The ISO size type for these containers is 20H0 and 40H0, respectively. These insulated containers offer the following uses and features:

  • Side and end walls feature a “sandwich-construction” using polyurethane foam to maintain temperatures and insulation.
  • Temperature is accurately maintained through two apertures in the front wall. Supply air is fed to the lower opening and return air via the upper opening.
  • Maximum stowage to maintain proper ventilation is clearly indicated by a visible red line within the container.
  • The 20’ container can maintain cargo at temperatures between 54˚F (12˚C) to -14˚F (-25˚C), below or above freezing, as necessary.
  • The 40’ container can maintain cargo at temperatures between 57˚F (13˚C) to -8˚F (-22˚C).

Bulk Container

This container has a similar concept to an open top container, except it uses manholes at the top to load cargo. It is used exclusively to transport dry bulk cargo, such as malt or grain. The containers are available in 20’ sizes and reach 8’ 6” high. The ISO size type is 22B0. Bulk containers offer the following features and recommendations:

  • Three convenient manholes sized 18” (455mm) and located 6’ apart that can be used for top loading.
  • A discharge opening sized 13.5” x 15” (340 x 380mm) in each door wing.
  • A liner bag can be fastened to the interior when necessary.
  • Forklift pockets in most models.
  • Lashing devices available on the top rails running horizontally.

Refrigerated Container

While different than insulated containers, these refrigerated shipping containers can also be used for cargo that needs to maintain a particular temperature. This shipping device is available in a 20’ model that stands 8’ 6” tall. The ISO size type is defined under 22R1 and 22R9. These temperature-controlled containers offer the following features and recommendations:

  • ATO-approved containers that can have controlled fresh-air supply upon request.
  • “Sandwich-construction” on the interior wall using polyurethane foam to ensure temperatures and insulation.
  • A reefer unit with a compact-design compressor unit that features an air-cooled condenser. It can switch from cooling to heating automatically as necessary based on exterior temperatures.
  • A visible red line indicates the maximum stowage allowed to ensure proper ventilation is maintained.
  • Can withstand technical and electric voltages ranging between 380 V/50 Hz to 460 V/60 Hz and 200 V/50 Hz to 220 V/60 Hz.
  • Can be maintained at temperatures between 77˚F (25˚C) to -13˚F (-25˚C) as long as the difference in temperature between the interior and exterior does not exceed 76˚F (42˚C) for heating and 117˚F (65˚) for cooling.

The tank containers are strange-looking contraptions that are used exclusively for certain gases, oils, and liquids, such as chemical products or even food items. For example, flammables, corrosives, or toxic substances can be transported safely with a tank container. They are available in 20’ sizes and can be found in two heights: 8’, outlined in the ISO type code 20T5 and 8’ 6”, outlined in ISO code 22T5 and 22T6. In addition to their specific use, these containers have the following features and recommended uses:

  • Tanks cannot be less than 80% full, nor can they be filled to 100% of their capacity. Maintaining 85%-95% capacity can help to prevent dangerous surges or swells during the transport process.
  • In some cases, products considered toxic or dangerous must be carried in containers that have no openings below the surface level of the liquid to ensure safe transport.
  • Residue tariffs may apply for the cleaning and/or disposal of tank containers unless exempted based on a predetermined rule.

Flexitank

This shipping container is really a combination of a standard 20′ ISO ocean shipping container fitted with a flexible plastic “bladder” on the inside that can be used to store and transport bulk liquids. It can be used to house/transport food items such as flat beer, olive oil, sauces, wine, fruit juice concentrate, and more. It can also be used to house/transport industrial cargo such as adhesives, biodiesel, glue, oils, emulsions, and more. Here are some the advantages, recommendations, and features of the flexitank shipping container:

  • A “one-way cost system” that uses disposable bladders, which helps keep the cost of use and maintenance low.
  • Higher storage and transport capacity compared to rigid tanks.
  • Reduces transport costs thanks to lower tare weights, decreased labor costs, and reduced packaging costs as compared to drums, bottles, or traditional tanks.
  • Can hold capacities ranging from 3,170 to 6,340 US gallons (12,000 to 24,000 liters).
  • Heating pads are available to make discharging certain liquids (like oils) easier.
  • Various different materials can be used to manufacture flexitanks, which allows them to handle a variety of cargo, including food grade and industrial goods.
  • Has an easily accessible infill and discharge valve for easy loading and unloading.

Make the Decisions the Best Suits You

Still having trouble figuring out which shipping container is the best for your cargo? Promptus LLC is here to help! We have a number of highly trained Licensed Customs Brokers on staff as well as a number of other freight forwarding services available. Contact the experts today to get a free quote for all your global logistics needs!

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Discover How Freight Containers Shaped Intermodal Transportation

The History of Containerization and Its Impact on The Shipping Industry

Have you ever wondered how the everyday shipping process used today came to be? 62 years ago, the modern shipping container was introduced, revolutionizing the freight industry and forever changing the way goods were shipped.

The idea of using some sort of box to hold items throughout their journey wasn’t exactly new; the idea started to arise around World War II when pallets were used to transport military resources. However, it was not until the 1950s when American trucking entrepreneur Malcom P. McLean introduced containerization, a method that changed the shipping industry forever.

The Birth of Containerization

In April of 1956, Malcom McLean made the first of many trips on the Ideal X, a converted war tanker that was equipped to hold over 50 metal container boxes. Over the years, this method of containerization would evolve to become the standard for intermodal transportation. In 1961, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set the standard sizes for shipping containers that are still used today.

 You May Also Like:3 Powerful Tools That Evolved the Trade and Logistics World 

This method of shipping quickly took the freight forwarding field by storm. With containers that could be seamlessly moved from truck to ship to train, it minimizes interruptions between shipping methods. This brought change to more than just the shipping industry. With a standardized method being adopted on a global level, it allowed the ships, trucks, and trains that transported these containers to be built around certain specifications.

Rather than having to take apart shipments and reload them into the next method of transport, containers could be stacked comfortably and moved from vessel to vessel without difficulty. In the 60 years since its introduction, containerization has helped shape the way bulk shipping is handled.

Influence on Intermodalism

Intermodal transport occurs when goods are transported to their destination using a number of various transportation methods. Most commonly, this includes some form of land and sea travel. While intermodal transportation was not a relatively new thing, it wasn’t until McLean’s introduction of the modern shipping container that it really took off. In addition to the standard size implemented by the ISO, shipping containers must be properly loaded as per the industry guide. This is to ensure the safety of the merchandise as well as the transportation systems and docks. The shipping containers themselves are constructed of highly durable materials such as steel to ensure sturdiness and longevity.

Intermodal transport allowed shippers to send their goods long distances for a more affordable cost; the price of fuel for trains and ships is typically cheaper than other forms of long-distance shipping methods. In today’s world, it is an excellent choice for importers that are:

  • Sending continuous bulk shipments to the same location.
  • Shipping intermediate and finished goods in load units of less than 25 tons.
  • Shipping freight across more than 300 miles, or the equivalent of one day via truck.

The Future of Freight Forwarding

Without recognizing the history of global logistics, we would never be able to understand just how far we have come. Thanks to advances in technology over the last 50 years, we have been able to truly evolve the container and, in turn, how we do intermodal transportation.

At Promptus LLC, we have a number of dedicated services available to assist your importing and exporting business. To learn more about our services and to receive a free quote, contact us today at 1-877-776-6799.

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Understanding the Incoterms 2010: The Latest Rules and Regulations

Stay Up-to-Date with the Most Recent International Commerce Terms

If you have ever engaged in any sort of international commerce dealings, you are likely familiar with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The aptly named Incoterms are a regularly updated guide to the International Commerce terms that are used all over the world. The goal of the Incoterms is to avoid communication issues due to language barriers.

Instead, everyone who is involved in some aspects of the transportation or shipping of goods internationally can follow the same guide to understand the general rules. Originally published in 1936, they have been periodically revised to essentially make understanding important terms a little easier for everyone. The most recent edition was published on Jan. 1, 2011 and is dubbed the Incoterms 2010.

In the Incoterms 2010, the guide was updated to reflect a few changes. To read the text in its entirety, a complete copy can be obtained from the ICC Store.

Most Recent Changes to the Incoterms

The goal of the Incoterms is to help reduce confusion and miscommunications between importers and exporters from different countries. As such, the ICC is always looking for better ways to improve it and minimize confusions between parties. In the eighth and most recent guide, significant changes were made in two areas:

  1. How many categories the Incoterms are divided into. In the previous version, they were subdivided into four categories, but in the 2010 version, there are only two categories, separated only by the method of delivery.
  2. The number of rules. In the 2000 version, there were 13, which have been cut down to 11 in the Incoterms 2010.
incoterms 2010

Brief Review of Incoterms 2010

Rules for Any Mode or Modes of Transport

  • EXW: Ex Works. This term refers to goods that are at the disposal of the buyer at a location determined or owned by the seller. The seller is not responsible for loading the goods or clearing them for export.
  • FCA: Free Carrier. This means that the seller is responsible for delivering the merchandise to the buyer (or an approved proxy for the buyer). The guide urges both parties to clearly specify the place of delivery, as the risk will be solely on the buyer.
  • CPT: Carriage Paid To. This term means that the seller is in charge of delivering the merchandise to a place agreed. The seller will be responsible for paying the costs of carriage and any relative fees.
  • CIP. Carriage and Insurance Paid To. Similar to the above term, this means that the seller is responsible for ensuring delivery and paying the costs of carriage to the carrier. In addition, the seller will pay for and contract insurance to cover damage or loss of the goods during delivery.
  • DAT. Delivered At Terminal. This term means that the goods are to be delivered, unloaded, and placed at the buyer’s disposal at the seller’s risk. A ‘terminal’ can be a place such as a warehouse, container yard, or cargo terminal.
  • DAP. Delivered at Place. Like the term above, this means that the seller is responsible for placing the goods at the buyer’s disposal upon import. The seller assumes responsibility for all risks involved.
  • DDP. Delivered Duty Paid. This term means that the seller is in charge of delivering the goods to the buyer after clearing them for import upon arrival and unloading at the agreed destination. The seller will be responsible for the costs and risks associated with delivering the goods and will be required to pay any import and export duty on all merchandise.

Rules for Sea and Inland Waterway Transport

  • FAS. Free Alongside Ship. This term means that the goods are considered delivered by the seller upon placement alongside the shipping vessel decided by the buyer at the determined port of shipment. Once the goods are in the buyer’s possession, they assume all risks and costs associated with the goods.
  • FOB. Free On Board. This means that the seller must deliver the merchandise onto the vessel decided by the buyer at the predetermined port. Once the goods have been delivered on board the vessel, all responsibility shifts to the buyer.
  • CFR. Cost and Freight. This term means the seller must deliver the goods to the vessel determined by the buyer at the designated port. The seller is responsible for paying the costs and freight that may have been incurred to transport the goods to the port of destination.
  • CIF. Cost, Insurance, and Freight. Similar to the term above, this means that the seller is responsible for ensuring the goods are delivered on board the vessel at the port determined by the buyer. The seller will be responsible for contracting the transportation of the merchandise to the port and is in charge of paying any costs that may have been incurred. The seller will also be responsible for contracting and paying out an insurance policy in the event that the goods are lost or damaged. Once the merchandise has been delivered on board the vessel, the responsibility of any risk transfers to the buyer.

Need Help? Consider a Customs Broker

While the goals of the Incoterms are to help reduce any uncertainty and clarify any misunderstandings within the international shipping industry, we understand that it can sometimes be difficult to grasp their understanding. Promptus LLC is here to help!

We have a team of highly-trained and knowledgeable Customs Brokers available to help decipher any and all things related to the import and export field. While the Incoterms 2010 is not the law, they are internationally recognized and are widely used by importers and exporters all over the world. We are conveniently located just north of the bustling Miami Pier and have access to an array of dedicated global logistics options. Contact us today to learn more about our ocean shipping and freight forwarding services!

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Everything You Need to Know About ISPM 15 Regulations

What Are the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Guidelines?

When it comes to working with certain materials, especially shipping materials, there are important regulations that you must be aware of and follow in order for your materials to be accepted as “shipping material”.

For example, wood is a very common raw material that is used to create pallets, crates and boxes, which can be used for international and domestic shipping. This is called wood packaging material (WPM) and has careful regulations for how it must be treated prior to international use. This regulation is known as ISMP15, or the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures, publication number 15.

What is ISMP15?

As mentioned, ISMP15 is the regulation for WPM. This set of regulations was originally implemented by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in 2002 and essentially details the minimum required treatment for WPM.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) enforce these regulations.

What is the Purpose of ISMP15?

ISMP15 is actually a very important regulation because it focuses on preventing the worldwide spread of pests or diseases that may be living within the wood. Only wood that is properly treated with either a heat treatment or methyl bromide can be stamped and branded with the appropriate markings (example shown below). Without the correct treatment or markings, a WPM may not be accepted as a shipping material.

What is Considered a WPM?

Just about any material that consists of wood could pose a potential risk to an international ecosystem or plant society. Wood materials that are thicker than 6mm will require a treatment. The exception to this is products made from alternative materials, such as paper or wood panel products like hardboard or plywood. Additionally, WPM made from thin wood (less than 6mm), processed woods, reconstituted wood products, or veneer may be exempt from ISMP15 regulations.

What Are the Acceptable Treatment Methods?

At this time, the only acceptable methods of treatment for WMP in the United States are limited to two options: heat treatments or chemical fumigation.

Heat treatment requires that the core is heated to 132˚F (56˚C) for a duration of 30 minutes. This is the most environmentally friendly choice. The other option is chemical fumigation using Methyl Bromide. Similar to the process of tenting your house, this requires the wood to be exposed to the chemical and then aerated to reduce the toxicity levels.

ISPM15 Markings

All WPM must be accurately marked and stamped with the appropriate labeling to indicate it has been properly treated as per ISPM15 regulations. All treated WPM will have the IPPC mark.

  • The XX will indicate the two-letter ISO country code.
  • The 0000 will be the unique identification mark of the wood treatment agent or manufacturer.
  • The YY will indicate the type of treatment (either HT or MB).

What Happens If Something Is Not Properly Treated?

In the event that a WPM that has been improperly treated or not treated at all arrives at a shipping facility, it will be addressed as per the destination country’s standards. Each country is different.

The goods may be fumigated, including the contents, and billed at the shipper’s expense. In other cases, the shipment may be denied entirely and be subject to a whole slew of fees and even additional shipping costs. You can also run the risk of having your items confiscated and then re-exported at a premium rate or worse, being dumped or incinerated. In any case, it is completely the shipper’s responsibility for not properly treating their materials.

How Do I Learn More?

At Promptus, LLC we have a number of Licensed Customs Brokers available to help clients with issues such as shipping materials and following regulations. It is important to follow every step accordingly, which can be hard if you aren’t familiar with CBP systems and regulations. That’s where we come in! We work closely with our clients to fulfill their freight forwarding needs in all aspects. Call us today at 1-877-776-6799 for more information and a complimentary quote.

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How Severe Weather and Natural Disasters Disrupt Logistics

Minimize the Impact of Disruptive Weather Patterns

When it comes to climate patterns, nobody can truly foresee the damage that severe weather and natural disasters can inflict – especially when it comes to importing and exporting goods. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can follow to help your business prepare for the worst, or better yet, plan for how to proceed during an emergency weather situation.

Assessing Weather and Disaster Risks

The UNSIDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) defines a disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts.”

In layman’s terms, this means any devastating incident that disrupts everyday operation in any given area that cannot be resolved with local resources alone.

These disasters can occur due to a number of reasons, including geographical, meteorological, climatic, biological, hydrological, or even space-related. In most cases, a severe weather occurrence or a natural disaster will include disasters from numerous categories, such as a hurricane with severe flooding or heat waves with tornados. In any case, it is important to have systems in place that can be activated in case of one of these events.

Severe weather has been known to affect logistics, as well, with global supply chain management disruptions rising 29% since 2012. According to the 2017 Global Risks Report, extreme weather is considered a top risk. This may also be due in part to companies’ failure to properly prepare for the threat associated with severe weather warnings. TheStreet reports trucking companies in the United States lose an estimated $2.2 to $3.5 million annually because of weather delays. That’s a lot of money!

So what can you do to help your business be protected and prepared when severe weather or a natural disaster strikes? Discuss a plan of action.

Create a Contingency Plan

While there is very little you can do to sway the weather, you can take steps to ensure your import or export business doesn’t suffer too greatly from delays or damage. Take the time to develop a course of action that you and your employees should refer to in the event of a disaster or severe weather conditions. This arrangement is typically known as a disaster risk management plan. Here are some tips when creating your risk management plan that can help to minimize disruptions in your services.

  • Assess the Risk. While it is impossible to always plan for weather accurately, you can absolutely do your part to stay on top of potential impacts, like tornado, hurricane, or flood warnings by your local meteorologists. Determine where the risk is coming and what part of your logistics will be affected. Be aware of various threats and risks and have multiple ways to move forward in lieu of them.
  • Prepare in Advance. You should never wait until a disaster strikes to attempt to collect the supplies or materials you need. Instead, accumulate extra fuel, parts, equipment, and any necessary items ahead of time. You can always make additional preparations in light of any potential risks. For example, having copies of any important data either in the cloud or stored at an off-site location can help in the event of physical damage to your location.
  • Discuss a Plan of Action. The mitigation process will essentially decide how your company reacts to a natural disaster or unexpected weather. How will you communicate with employees if cell towers are down? How will you notify your customers of potential delays or complications? Will your supplier or your shipments be affected? Ask yourself questions that you may have to consider in a disaster situation so your operations don’t suffer.
  • Response and Recovery. Once the situation has been resolved or the disaster has been addressed, you will need to go into a recovery response mode. This means repairing any issues or services that have been impaired, doing any necessary damage control, and trying to maintain as many operational systems as possible. This process may involve repairs, especially if you have been personally affected by dangerous weather conditions. Consider the most cost-effective way to get your company up and running at its full capacity again as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Protect Yourself With Premier Logistics Services

At Promptus LLC, we are a multi-industry logistics company that works with a number of importers and exporters all over the globe. This requires us to stay on top of weather patterns in various areas throughout the world and to have multiple disaster management plans in place in the event that weather catastrophe occurs unexpectedly.

For the 15 years we have been in service, we have made it a point to employ the most advanced technology available to maximize efficiency for both our clients and us. Our headquarters are located in Miramar, FL, an area prone to hurricanes, so we are well experienced and wholly prepared to withstand powerful nature storms and weather disasters. We have plans of action in place to help minimize the risk of damage during weather emergencies. Call us today to get your free freight forwarding quote!

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Invest in Cargo Insurance Now and Save Immensely Later

Discover How Cargo Insurance Can Prevent Headaches and Costly Fees

invest in cargo insurance
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When it comes down to importing or exporting goods, regardless if you are using air, ocean, or ground freight forwarding services, you may consider investing in cargo insurance. Legally, carriers must provide a standard amount of insurance coverage, known as carrier liability. Many companies question whether the choice for cargo insurance is truly worth it but here at Promptus, we always recommend all importers or exporters purchase some form of insurance to protect their cargo.

This is because carrier liability only offers limited coverage – typically the bare minimum. In the event of an emergency or accident, you may find yourself shelling out funds to cover lost goods, even if you aren’t at fault.

What To Understand About Cargo Insurance

One of the biggest mistakes made in shipping cargo is assuming the other party took the steps to insure the shipment. Unfortunately, in most cases, this results in no coverage being requested and in the event of a mishap, someone will have to pay hefty costs.

It is vital to know who will be requesting additional insurance coverage on your goods. If it is the shipper or the manufacturer, be sure to confirm their insurance arrangement prior to committing to the contract. With some foreign exporters, they may be using an insurance company from their own country, which means following their rules. Be aware of all the options before moving forward, and remember that having a US-based insurance company could go a long way if it comes down to filing claims thanks to US insurance laws. Thankfully, various options can be explored.

Take Care of Your Merchandise

Insurance is beneficial for a number of different reasons. Obviously, the reason for a coverage plan is to protect your assets in the event that your goods or the carrier are lost, destroyed, or damaged. This can end up protecting parties on various ends, in many cases.

For example, if you are a shipper who has shipped but hasn’t received funds or a buyer who has paid but hasn’t yet received the goods and an unexpected tornado or natural disaster strikes, causing unavoidable destruction to the entire carrier’s cargo load. By the traditional liability coverage, the carrier would not be required to pay out, nor would the shipper. This leaves both parties inadvertently in trouble. However, if one (or both) of the parties had a more full-coverage insurance policy in place for this shipment, their insurance would kick in and provide them with a payout to help cover any losses. Sounds great, right?

It is! Assuming you have the right coverage. That’s another important factor to consider: purchasing the right insurance plan for your business’ needs. Whether you require an all-risk policy or a named perils policy will depend on if you want to guarantee costs for the widest range of possible losses or if you only wish to protect against certain type of loss.

  • An all-risk policy will cover everything, except anything specifically excluded in the contract or policy. This type of insurance is typically more expensive, but offers more comprehensive coverage options.
  • A named peril policy will only cover what is specifically included in the policy. This means if something perilous happens, such as a vandalism or robbery, but you only have natural disaster protection, you will not be covered.

Expert Logistics Services in Miramar, FL

At Promptus LLC, our freight forwarding services are fully insured and offer clients various levels of coverage to suit their particular needs. When you go through a 3PL or third-party logistics team, you gain access to our extensive array of resources, including insurance options. As a large company, we get better deals on insurance prices to cover all of our air, ground, and ocean shipping options. This means cheaper rates for our customers as well! Contact us today to get a quote on all your global logistics needs.

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How 3PL Can Help You Maximize Efficiency with your E-Commerce Company

Operate More Profitably By Outsourcing Online Sales to Third-Party Logistics

how 3pl maximize efficiency your ecommerce company

E-commerce is a broad term that refers to business transactions that are conducted exclusively on the Internet or via electronic devices or applications. It can range from a multitude of business types, with some of the most common being electronic retail sites. This means businesses selling physical merchandise through electronic means. Additionally, many of these electronic retail sites have completely abandoned the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience to instead provide twice as much merchandise to three times the customer base.

But where are you putting that inventory? After all, e-commerce sites tend to have a wider range of purchasable merchandise than a physical storefront. Well, this is where a third-party logistics team comes in. Rather than finding multiple warehouses, distribution centers, commercial transportation services, and various different ways to meet your company’s fulfillment needs, you can turn to one full-service company who will take care of all those logistics needs.

Boost Efficiency With a 3PL

No matter what your business is, the most important aspect is to ensure you are maintaining efficiency and keeping customers happy. With a physical retail store, this is much easier to do, as clients are simply walking in, purchasing items, and leaving satisfied. When you switch it up to electronic purchasing, you have to be able to provide the same satisfying experience without the personal interaction with your customers. This means having a user-friendly interface, multiple trustworthy, fast shipping options, and exceptional customer service while also maintaining inventory, warehousing, packing, shipping, and tracking.

It might sound like a lot of moving parts. There are, after all, many aspects that go into maintaining a successful logistics service. If you aren’t sure of where to start, you can end up spending lots of money, time, and resources trying to set up appropriate delivery costs, options, ordering systems and making sure that they can all work in harmony with each other. For small and large business owners alike, this can mean taking time from working on additional projects or important aspects of the operations of the company.

A 3PL such as Promtpus LLC can integrate advanced technology solutions on both the front and back of your e-commerce site to maximize the experience for your customers and ensure smooth inventory management. We take care of:

  • Calculating shipping fees
  • Finding the best delivery companies
  • Securing cargo via customs
  • And any other necessities to ensure that your fulfillment service run without a hitch

We can offer you an affordable rate to streamline and maintain your e-commerce needs so you don’t break the bank!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

With over 15 years of experience, Promptus LLC knows in the inner workings of third party logistics and can analyze your company’s unique needs to ensure you get the best service for you and your clientele. We stand at the forefront to ensure that all of our clients have the first knowledge of new technology or techniques to boost growth and maximize efficiency.

We operate a warehouse and distribution center and hold service contracts with more than 15 ocean shipping lines with regional and worldwide coverage. Promptus LLC also provides all on-land freight forwarding solutions, including our team of Licensed Customs Brokers that can take care of submitting paperwork and meeting necessary regulations with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Contact us to get your complimentary quote today!

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The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Logistics to a 3PL

Save Time, Money, and Resources By Switching to a Third Party Logistics Company

outsourcing your logistics to a 3PL

As technological advances are made in the world of supply chain management, business owners are starting to recognize the advantages to abandoning the traditional in-house warehouse and delivery fleet. Instead, they are opting to outsource their logistics needs to 3rd Party Logistics companies, or 3PLs, such as Promtpus, LLC. Trusting an experienced global logistics provider can mean you have more time, money, and energy to dedicate to what’s truly important: running a business.

When it comes to providing your customers with the highest quality services and products, you may not always factor in their experience after they finalize their transaction.

  • How reliable is the shipping information?
  • How well was the item packaged?
  • How quickly did it arrive?

These are all questions that must be taken into consideration when running a company that offers delivery, as they will reflect directly on your logistics services.

For example, a high-functioning warehouse will need a solution for assembly, packaging, warehousing, and distribution. This will require time, money, and manpower that you may not have readily available or simply can’t afford to factor out. This is where a 3PL comes in. They can help you by offering an all-in-one solution while helping to ensure your company still provides excellent care and attention to all their products or services.

Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Get Back Your Time

In most cases, opting for a 3PL can be a much smarter and more cost-effective option for your company. For starters, it allows you the freedom to dedicate your energy into the products or services you are offering. Day-to-day logistics can be tedious, since it requires a constant supervision of your operations, preparing and submitting documentation to different government agencies, plus overseeing your staff, among others. Using an outsourced 3PL such as Promptus LLC means you don’t have to worry about any of this because we do it for you!

Cut Back on Costs

Rather than paying for the rent of a warehouse, the salary of a logistics team, regular maintenance on fleet vehicles, and all the necessities of running a logistics operation, invest that money into yourself! For a fraction of the cost, you can invest in a 3PL that works closely with you to understand your company’s needs and provide them as best as possible. That means no warehouse space, no additional employees, and no need to worry about billing, audits, training, or in-house supply chains.

Stay in the Know

As a leader in the global logistic industry, we find it crucial to stay up-to-date in regards to technology and product advances. With over 30 years of experience, we have managed to stay on the forefront of the industry, which allows the opportunity to share our resources with our clients. When you are operating supply chain in-house, you may not have access to the same network of information as a certified global logistics company, such as Promptus LLC.

Focus on What You Do Best

By using our numerous resources, extensive knowledge, and advanced technology, we can confidently offer our client the very best in global logistics services from Miami all over the world. Promptus LLC specializes in warehouse and distribution, ocean shipping, and all your freight forwarding needs. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 to get a personalized quote for our services.

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What is Distressed Cargo and When Does it Occur?

Learn the Truth About What Distressed Cargo Means For You

what is distressed cargo

Whether you are new to the freight forwarding field or have years of experience, the term “distressed cargo” has probably come to your attention at least once. Put simply, cargo is categorized as distressed when the buyer abandons the goods.

This occurs when the buyer is no longer willing to honor the original contract agreed upon due to unfavorable or unexpected changes. The cause of these changes can vary greatly and oftentimes is the result of unavoidable weather or travel emergencies. Regardless of the reason, distressed cargo poses a special case for international shippers. Promptus LLC wants to help any potential sellers or buyers understand exactly what it means when cargo is pronounced distressed.

Anyone who has experience with international shipping understands that it can often be a finicky situation with many external factors that are sometimes out of your control. Distressed cargo occurs for a variety of reasons and will typically cause the goods to become unsellable or drop significantly below their original retail price. Understanding why this happens and if the distressed cargo can be salvaged can help you understand what you can do next and, better yet, how you can prevent or minimize the risk of it occurring again!

In most cases, cargo being shipped overseas can become distressed for one of two reasons:

  1. The buyer refused to pay for the cargo that they requested. This most commonly occurs when the goods being shipped to the buyer have dropped significantly in commodity value while in transit, causing the buyer to default on the shipment and the shipper to be left with distressed cargo. It can also occur when a seller takes too long to complete a trade, thereby expiring the contract’s time frame and causing the contract to be nullified. The Your buyer may then refuse to pay, leaving the seller with unpaid goods that are now considered distressed cargo.
  2. The cargo was forced to dock at a port other than the one designated in the contract during the scheduled time frame. Sometimes, unforeseen weather conditions like a severe storm or similar conditions can force a cargo ship to dock at a port other than the one specified in their contract or bill of lading. The cargo will be offloaded at the port, where it will be marked distressed and lose much of its value. If this occurs, whoever has ownership of the cargo at the time may consider auctioning off the goods to help cover the losses.

Top-Notch Freight Forward Solutions

Distressed cargo can mean thousands in losses because cargo must be sold well under value. Not to mention the added costs of any repackaging, customs fees, or fines that it may have incurred. Thankfully, our company can assist both buyers and sellers in understanding the risks and create alternate plans to minimize the potential loss.

With over 15 years of experience, our clients feel secure in putting their trust into our freight forwarding services and knowing that we are dedicated to providing them with the highest quality commitment and technology towards business growth. Contact us today at (305) 687-1405 to receive a free quote from one of our experts. We will help you get the best deal, plan the best route, and maximize efficiency!

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